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Glen Echo Park began in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly, which taught the sciences, arts, languages, and literature. By the early 1900's Glen Echo Park had become the premier amusement park serving the Washington area until 1968. In 1971, after the federal government obtained the land, the National Park Service began managing the park.
The National Park Service collaborated with artists and arts organizations to create a rich arts program in the spirit of the original Chautauqua movement. Today the park is managed by the nonprofit Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc. on behalf of Montgomery County, Maryland.